Convenience drives China’s smart home market, while affordability is the biggest barrier

February 21, 2019

Today’s Chinese consumers are growing increasingly familiar with smart home devices. Latest research from world’s leading market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that convenience will drive the future of the Chinese smart home market, while affordability is the biggest barrier to purchasing.

According to Mintel, as many as 68%* of urban Chinese consumers who have purchased or are interested in smart home devices say that convenience is a primary reason for their interest. Meanwhile, three in five (60%) attribute their interest in smart home devices to trying new technology and half (50%) because smart home devices make them feel more relaxed at home.

For those consumers who are yet to venture into the world of smart home devices, almost three in five (59%) non purchasers believe they are too expensive. And while consumer privacy is the talk of the town, just 19% say that the lack of personal privacy is a barrier to purchasing smart home devices.

Meanwhile, it seems that parents are more interested in smart home devices than families with no children. More than three in five (61%) Chinese parents say that they like to try new technology, as compared to less than half (49%) of consumers with no children. In addition, over half (52%) of parents say smart home devices make them feel relaxed at home, while 43% of consumers with no children say the same. What is more, almost half (48%) of Chinese parents believe that smart home devices will save them time and effort, this compares to just a third (34%) of consumers with no children.

Kaye Huang, Research Analyst, Mintel China Reports, said:

“Chinese consumers are now increasingly knowledgeable about how smart home appliances can help to simplify daily lives. Convenience as well as an interest in trying new technology are big reasons for Chinese consumers to purchase smart home devices. Parents are showing more interest in smart home devices than those without children; which is likely to be attributed to how smart home devices can help parents save time and effort. On the flip side, price, more so than privacy, is what’s keeping Chinese consumers from purchasing these devices. This indicates that companies in the smart home market need to put more effort into communicating why these products are value for money.

Meanwhile, Mintel research reveals that automatic adjustment to environmental changes is a big opportunity for players in the smart home devices market; more than half (55%) of urban Chinese consumers think that this function is a necessity. Currently, it appears that automation in adjusting to environmental factors is a function not commonly provided by consumers’ home appliances, with just 19% of Chinese consumers indicating so.

“What will stand out in the smart home market is the ‘automatic adjustment of parameters’ which enables smart home devices to automatically respond to environmental changes, such as temperature and humidity. Today’s Chinese consumers have higher expectations on their living conditions and automation is an important part of making the living environment ‘smarter’.” Kaye continued.

Finally, while 44% of Chinese consumers look for voice control, only a quarter (26%) of Chinese indicate that their current home appliances have this feature. In fact, playing music (20%) and asking for general information (18%) are two voice control functions most used by Chinese consumers. When it comes to targeting consumers, it seems parents are more interested in using voice control functions. Mintel research shows that a fifth (22%) of parents use voice control to play music, while just 13% of consumers with no children do so. Additionally, one in five (19%) Chinese parents ask for general information via this function as compared to only a tenth (10%) of those without children.

“Voice control has been a popular area of development in recent years especially since the industry believes that it could be the next generation of user interaction. Yet, our research finds that voice control, while widely-known, is a less-used smart home function. While playing music and asking for general information are two main functions that Chinese consumers are using for voice control, in reality this only counts for a handful of consumers, suggesting consumers’ habit of using voice control is far from being firmly established. In the future, brands can look at rolling out strategies and initiatives to instil the habit of using voice control among consumers in China.” Kaye concluded.

*3,000 internet users aged 20-49

Press review copies of Mintel’s Smart Home China 2018 report and interviews with Kaye Huang, Research Analyst, Mintel China Reports, are available on request from the press office.

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